Cover Image: And Now She's Gone

And Now She's Gone

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I struggled reading this story big time. It took a long time for the story to pick up for me. When it did I was hooked, but then it would get slow again. I also felt it had a lot of things going on at once and it was too much at times. I did alternate with the audiobook which is how I was able to finish. I’m not against reading another book by this author in the future.
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I discovered Rachel Howzell Hall earlier this year and I am so happy I did.  Her books never fail to entertain and always have my full attention.  I previously read They All Fall Down and expected this book to be similar.  Well, I was wrong because this book had a totally different feel and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

And Now She’s Gone is perfect for readers who enjoy multiple timelines.  This book toggles between the past, telling the story of Natalie Dixon and her abusive husband Sean, and the present, following the investigation into missing woman Isabel Lincoln.  Both stories have one thing in common and that is Grayson Sykes.  I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t elaborate, but both timelines were riveting and the transition between to the two is seamless.

Grayson Sykes is a private investigator, but her biggest case so far has been finding a missing Chihuahua.  When she is finally assigned a missing person case, Sykes goes through a range of emotions and feels the pressure to find the missing woman as quickly as possible.  The only problem is that Grayson isn’t sure Isabel wants to be found.  As more details come to light, the story becomes more complex and calls into question all Grayson has been told by those close to Isabel.    

Isabel Lincoln was reported missing by her boyfriend, Ian O’Donnell, a cardiologist in Los Angeles.  Not only has Isabel gone missing, but she’s taken Ian’s precious Labradoodle Kenny G.  As soon as we are introduced to Ian, I knew I didn’t like him.  He came across controlling, narcissistic, and whiny.  He definitely seemed to care more about getting Kenny G back than finding Isabel.  

I loved the character of Grayson!  She was incredibly relatable, especially as she fumbled through the first day of the investigation.  For example, she arrives to talk to Ian only to realize she doesn’t have a working pen, she wears bright colors, which is a big no-no for a PI, and she just has no idea what she’s doing.  I found all these moments endearing and each made me love Grayson even more.  Despite all the missteps, Grayson finds her stride and uses her past experiences to help move the investigation forward.  

As the story progresses, we find out more and more about Grayson and her life before she began working at Rader Consulting.  Each revelation was like peeling back another layer and gives us a glimpse into why working this case is so tough for Gray.  Her past plays a huge role in the way she investigates and at times interferes with her ability to see things clearly.  

One of my favorite things about this book is how it is an unexpected story of healing.  The search for Isabel takes its toll on Grayson, but it also helps her confront things she’s kept hidden away for years.  Going through the investigation forces Grayson to decide what path she wants her future to take.  Will she continue to be haunted by her past or will she finally find the strength to move on?  

And Now She’s Gone is a twisty, suspense filled novel and not at all what I expected.  I was stumped and left guessing all the way to the end.  I would recommend this book to readers of Lisa Jewell or Ruth Ware and it’s the perfect fall read.

Thank you Netgalley and Forge Books for my advanced copy.  All opinions are my own.
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There are too many characters in this frenzied, fast paced mystery and I could not relate to any of them. This novel has a quirky female investigator as the main protagonist and she did not endear me to her. I raced through this book to the end because I had a commitment to finish but I did not enjoy it. Sorry to report I cannot recommend it.
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Newly promoted Private Investigator Grayson Sykes has been tasked with finding a missing woman, Isabel Lincoln, by her boyfriend. The case immediately manages to push her buttons for a variety of reasons not limited to said boyfriend who is exceedingly rude, arrogant, and cocky, making Isabel wonder if he isn’t the main reason she’s disappeared. But writer Rachel Howzell Hall has so much up her sleeve, you’ll never figure this one out. I really liked this so much and a big part of it was the character of Grayson. I loved having a PI who was complicated and damaged, and hopeful, and at times a huge mess. All of the characters were so well drawn, especially her girlfriend/co-workers who were hilarious and gave some levity to the mounting tension.This was not a book to check out at the beach to like some thrillers, and is involved and intricate, and trust me when I say you have no idea how intricate! I really hope this is the first Grayson Sykes book, cause she’s a refreshing addiction to the traditional PI detective genre, and Howzell’s has definitely found a new fan.
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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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The girlfriend and dog of a popular Los Angeles doctor has gone missing and Grayson Sykes is the private investigator hired to find her. But as Grayson searches for the missing woman, things aren’t adding up.

I really enjoyed this one. There was just one plot point that I personally dislike when it’s used in thrillers, but overall this is an engrossing story that I recommend to anyone looking for more mysteries and thrillers.
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Wow!  This book was SO, SO good!  In fact, it started my streak of two five star reads back to back which doesn't happen often.  Last year I read and really enjoyed They All Fall Down by this author.  Sidenote: That book is an amazing read as well and is a retelling (not sure if that is the correct term) of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  I just knew that I needed to read more by this author so I eagerly picked this one up and it didn't disappoint.  One of the things that I enjoy most about this author's books is that there is a kind of rhythm to them.  She doesn't tell you everything all at once which adds to the suspense.  There were numerous times that I was going along reading this book thinking one thing only to realize that it was actually something completely different.  That sounds confusing but it really wasn't.  It's actually perfection in my opinion.  I loved how she managed to play with my assumptions in a way that would lead me down the wrong path.  I never knew what was going to happen or what to expect until the author actually wanted me to.  It was all done just so perfectly!  This isn't an easy read only because it deals with some very serious and dark subject matter (I will have content warnings below).  I still couldn't set this book down though even though there were times where it had my anxiety levels humming.  I loved Gray's character and everything about her.  She wasn't perfect but she was a fighter which kept me rooting for her the entire time.  I would actually love to see this become a series because this book was just that good and so was she as the main character!  This is honestly one of the best mysteries I've read all year!  Read this book and let this author take you for a ride you won't forget about anytime soon!  

Overall, I obviously really enjoyed this one as evidenced by all of my gushing.  I will be searching out Hall's backlist and reading everything else she has written after enjoying these two books so much.  The exciting part as it looks like her other books are part of a series (and you know how much I love a series).  I think that readers who enjoy mysteries where everything is not what it seems, those who enjoy suspenseful reads with strong characters, and those who just love a good thrilling read should pick this book up!  Highly recommended!  Please note that I am not an own voices reviewer so I would also suggest checking out some reviews from own voice reviewers.

Bottom Line:  One of the best mysteries I've read this year - that should tell you everything you need to know!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley but I ended up reading a copy from my local library.  Honest thoughts are my own.

CW:  Domestic abuse, miscarriage, domestic violence - these are the big ones but there might be a few others.
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This book is a little difficult for me to review.
I did really enjoy it, but I think that it’s one that I will need to go back and reread to really understand a lot of it.

I really enjoyed the main character, Gray, and her character development throughout was amazing to read. She starts off and you are lead to believe she’s this insane pushover, fragile being. But you quickly learn her background and why she is the way she is and you’re horrified for her. You’re amazed that she’s as strong as she is.

One thing I will say that distracted me from this overall story, or stories, was that there were so many secondary characters that they were hard for me to keep up with. Also, there were essentially two storylines in this book that didn’t really converge at the end so that kind of confused me. She really could have written two amazing books, one with Gray getting her revenge on her POS ex husband, and the other about Isabel and her conartistry bullshit and both would be amazing. I just felt like there was so much going on in this book that it was hard for me to keep up with.

I did really love the analogies she used in this book, her writing style was so different from anything i’ve read- I really enjoyed that. It was hard to read at times, because it does deal pretty heavily with domestic abuse/violence and miscarriages- but these are very real issues that don’t get talked about enough. If these are potential triggers for you, just know that going in that the abuse does get a bit graphic.

One question I did have at the end was — DID THE DOG GET REUNITED WITH IAN!? They eluded to that, sort of, but I would have loved to have had it spelled out for me 😂 I was very concerned about the doggo throughout this book.

Thank you so much, NetGalley for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review!
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A 4.5 rounded up with an acknowledgment that stylistically this one might not work for everyone, but I ended up really enjoying it. Depending on your thriller preferences, this one may or may not land. This is a modern detective noir set in Los Angeles and following Gray, a woman with a dark past who has a lot to prove. To that end, this one was a bit outside of my comfort zone as typically I don't like cop/PI type characters driving a narrative, but I ended up really enjoying it. It's also in third person, less common for the thrillers I read, but I think it aided in that noir feel.

To that end, there were a few times where the third person voice was exquisite, and a few others where it was confusing. I did find myself rereading a passage or two because it was unclear to me what was being described/what was going on. But when a description landed it LANDED. Some fantastic, vivid writing in this one. The voice is pretty full-on, generally, but super voicey is my jam. Gray is a bold, specific character--someone you root for, and only very occasionally groan at. Los Angeles, too, is a character and it's really clear Hall is a native. It's modern noir with a domestic violence & messy women angle. 

Gray is a PI tasked to find a missing girlfriend who's stolen her boyfriend's dog. Sounds simple enough but slowly and surely multiple mystery and suspense threads build, and it has a cascading kind of third act where things were happening right up until the final chapter. Usually I'm annoyed at the lack of denouement, but with so much to wrap up here and all the character-based stakes, I didn't mind. 

There was only one thing I wasn't entirely sure about that I do think is worth at least mentioning, regarding fat rep. There is some good fat rep in the book--Gray is described consistently as larger, though primarily in contrast to when she was younger when she's described a few times as being "tiny" and weighing "a buck fifteen." Current-Gray definitely feels authentically like a woman in a larger body, though how big she is is up to personal/creative interpretation. The other thing, re: fat rep is spoilery, so I've just put it in Goodreads.
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An absolutely gripping page-turner! I loved this book!  Grayson Sykes is unique and refreshing as a new PI. She's quirky and bad ass at the same time. The amazing imagery of Los Angeles, Vegas and points in between get you lost in the story and craving more. The twists and unreliable characters make for a thrill ride that I enjoyed until the fantastic ending! 5 stars!! 
How this is my first book from this author I don't know, but I'm a huge fan now and immediately grabbed backlist titles.  Thank you to the publisher for my copy via @Netgalley. All thoughts are my own.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Forge, and Macmillan Audio for complimentary digital and audiobook copies of this book in exchange for an honest review.

TW: domestic violence

And Now She's Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall was a mystery I really enjoyed.  Grayson Sykes is a new PI who is on her first case for Radar Consulting, trying to find a doctor's missing girlfriend and dog.  The story that follows is really a story within a story.  One following the case of the missing girlfriend, the other telling Grayson's story.  

I really liked the way the author interweaved the two stories.  At times it got a little confusing with multiple names for multiple characters, but overall I thought it was both a well written and entertaining story.

I really hope this is a first book in a series because I would love to see more of Grayson and the other employees of Radar Consulting.
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There is much to like in [book:And Now She's Gone|49247317], but overall I feel let down by this novel.  

Gray Sykes is a newly minted P.I., her boss has just handed her her first case.  A woman has disappeared taking her boyfriend's dog.  Gray just needs to get proof of life and if possible the dog back.  The case, of course, is not as simple as it appears drawing Gray into a world of false identities, insurance fraud and physical abuse.  All of which, bring up memories of her past because Gray, too, has changed her identity and is on the run from an abusive ex-husband.  We learn this through a split narrative of then and now.

I could totally see this book being a springboard to this character in a series, along with her boss Nick and the work they do at Radar Consulting.  The plotting is good and the need for women to disappear from their life creating new identities is fascinating.  The problems with this book were mainly in the writing.  Gray has several previous names as does the character she is "hunting", it got very confusing at times, especially with the introduction of many secondary characters.  I have also never liked it when authors use drugs or alcohol to give a cloudiness to the story and Gray keeps popping narcotics to help with pain from a recent appendectomy.  Following along with Gray's investigation is confusing enough with all of the different names and split timelines, we don't need a muddled narrator on top of it.

As someone who reads a lot of mysteries, it's pretty easy to figure out who the culprit will be, that is not to say that there weren't quite a few twists to the story that made me want to finish and learn the how and why.  If I look at it logically though, I'm not sure I buy the conclusion.  Ultimately, I'm all over the map with how I feel about this book so a middle of the road rating seems fair.
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I really really wanted to like this book.  But sadly, I didn't connect with it. and just couldn't get into at all. 

I had to DNF, it just wasn't for me.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of And Now She's Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall.

Gray is a PI who has just gotten her first big case.  Still a shaky on her feet she goes to interview the husband of a missing woman.  But Gray, having dealt with her own past traumatic marriage, gets the worst vibes from this man.  Could the victim and Gray have more in common than anyone realizes, or is it much more sinister?

First off, I loved how human and fun Gray was.  She was damaged from her past, but still a woman who enjoyed men, and having a good time.  On top of that, she wasn't afraid of getting her hands dirty, even if it meant messing up a bit.

Having said that, this was a bit hard for me to really get into.  The characters were a bit too two dimensional and not believable, and the plot was pretty out there.  However, I did love reading about Gray's past and how hard she had to work to recover and become the person she is now.  It's a pretty solid three stars from me.
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Alternating between past and present, this twisty mystery weaves two women's stories together. We follow private investigator Grayson Sykes as she searches for missing woman Isabel Lincoln. With every new clue Grayson picks up, she realizes that this isn't a simple missing persons case—and she and Isabel might have a lot in common. This thriller is full of jaw-dropping moments, and the format gripped me from the beginning. In addition to the page-turning investigation, this is a story of survival. Do be aware that this story involves domestic abuse and heavy themes
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“And Now She’s Gone” is a complex story that unfolds layer by layer like pealing an onion. A frantic opening grabs readers with action and construction that reinforces the panic with short abrupt sentences filled with quick thoughts and desperate observations. This is a frantic ride readers might not have anticipated. Grayson Sykes is a PI, and she knows that in her business, everyone lies; everyone leaves something out of the narrative. She is searching for a missing girlfriend and the dog she stole. Women who vanish rarely get caught; they just want a new beginning. However, the truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Hall writes in the language of conversation, speaking to readers the way people speak to each other.  Descriptions evoke all senses, and the language is rich with metaphors.  People are as “real as Parmesan cheese from a green can.”  Los Angeles smells like “tar, fire, barbecue ribs, and weed.” Lightning explodes in “the color of crayons— Atomic Tangerine, Cornflower, and Laser Lemon.”  There is subtle humor as characters are called by the names that describe their personalities, and plenty of reality as characters obsess over food, all kinds of food. (Finally, fictional characters who actually eat.)

The plot is complex and the characters are sketched right at the start. Everyone is nice, but even killers are nice except to their victims. Everyone lies, so things are absolutely not what they appear to be.  Events from the past come screaming into the present, and memories bring complications, trauma, and threats.  There are unexpected problems on every page, and big secrets explode everywhere.  

“And Now She's Gone” is like driving on a mountain road; you never know what will be around the next corner. Just when you think you have things figured out, here comes another turn and another shocking surprise. I was given a review copy of “And Now She's Gone” from Rachel Howzell Hall, Forge Books, and Macmillan.  The book is like an iceberg, what is seen on top, is just a hint; the big payoff lies well-hidden until…
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This had been one of my most anticipated reads for the year and it certainly lived up to all my expectations!
Grayson Sykes is a private investigator in Los Angeles for Rader Consulting. She is on her first case, tracking down Isabel Lincoln, who may not want to be found.
The girlfriend of Dr. Ian O'Donnell has disappeared with his beloved dog Kenny G.
As Gray investigates, things become complicated. She finds evidence that Isabel has been the victim of domestic violence. But she also might not have been who she said she was.
The story alternates to Gray's past, and her escape from an abusive and violent husband, which makes her feel connected to Isabel.
This complex and powerful mystery/thriller was a long one, but it completely held my interest throughout.
I loved Grayson, such a strong character, but so human too. I thought she was unique and had a wry sense of humor.
A top book for me this year.
I am hoping this will be the beginning of a great series and I have already added more books by the author to my tbr.
Thank you Forge Books for the e-ARC via NetGalley.
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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Eh, And Now She's Gone was an underwhelming book for me. It's weird because I love all kinds of mystery books. Especially since it's October and that's the month where you want to dive into all kinds of spooky mystery thrillers that make you think. Yet, I just couldn't vibe with this book. No matter how hard I tried nothing was working for me.

The characters were okay, some were a bit creepy but mostly everyone was predictable to me. Even though this book gave me so many characters to keep track of, I just didn't really care what happened to them at a certain point in the book. I wish I didn't feel this way but unfortunately, I did and do.

Towards the end, I was so happy because I was finally able to see the light. Once I got to the very last page, I felt nothing. I mean, it was pretty cute with getting Gray and Nick to be happy but other than that - I was just happy to be done with it.

I really wanted to love this book but it just didn't happen.
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Wow, this book was incredible. This was my first read by Rachel Howzell Hall, but I can guarantee that this book will not be my last. If you like Lisa Jewell and old school Ruth Ware novels, Rachel Howzell Hall will exceed your mystery/thriller goals.

Taking place over two timelines, one current and one past, we are introduced to the protagonist, Grayson Sykes. Grayson (or nicknamed Gray) is a private detective, working at elite Rader Consulting, and she is tasked with a new case. This case involves a doctor trying to find his girlfriend Isabel. Isabel vanished without a trace, but his dog is also missing. It seems pretty standard, as Isabel has been known to run off, but as Gray begins to investigate, she notices that this case is far from standard. This cat and mouse thriller deviates between two different storylines, as they come full circle.

O M G. This is probably the most intricate mystery novel that I've ever read. There, I said it. The slow building mystery starts off relatively simple, but as you dive into the story, you'll be completely shocked at how it plays out. I absolutely had no idea where it was going and I was completely stumped. There were intense moments of suspense that were unexpected and I truly was ready to look over my shoulder at times. For someone who reads hundreds of mysteries and thrillers every year, this is not a simple task for an author to do to me. Stumped and enamored, And Now She's Gone is one of my favorite novels of the year. Touching on race, gender, and interpersonal relationships, this book not only will entertain, but show you how society treats women, people of color, and sex. I can't recommend this book enough.
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Although I have two of Hall's earlier releases languishing in my never-ending TBR, this is my actual first experience with her writing. The description here immediately appealed to me. Grayson Sykes narrates the first case that she is given as a private investigator - a woman and a dog are missing. But alongside her investigation, she also relays her own backstory - a background filled with hardship, blood and survival. These two storylines keep the plot moving quickly and Grayson's case certainly takes some unexpected turns (though the ending ultimately may come together faster for the reader than it does for Grayson). 

The writing style follows a sort of Neo-noir flair, with some genuine moments of humor (though rather dark at times) along with plenty of drinks and some romantic elements along with plenty of violence. Sykes' background and her past all color her handling of her initial case, of this doctor's missing dog and girlfriend. Gray makes for a likable heroine and I hope that this will wind up being the first book in a series rather than a standalone story. 

Unfortunately, I didn't love this one quite as much as I had hoped to... while the plot moves quickly and in some good twists, the character development moves a lot slower. The latter half's pacing is much faster than the first, and gives the book a slightly uneven feel to it. Still, I did enjoy it overall!
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